When abstraction does not increase stereotyping: Preparing for intragroup communication enables abstract construal of stereotype-inconsistent information

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Abstract

Two experiments investigated when perceivers can construe stereotype-inconsistent information abstractly (i.e., interpret observations as generalizable) and whether stereotype-consistency delimits the positive relation between abstract construal level and stereotyping. Participants (N1=104, N2=83) prepared for intragroup communication or formed an individual impression without anticipating communication about a newspaper article describing outgroup members behaving stereotype-consistently or stereotype-inconsistently, and completed construal-level measures. Results supported our prediction that when people prepare communication, they prepare to share specific information (which may be stereotype-inconsistent) against the background of shared knowledge (often stereotypical). Communication thus creates the conditions for stereotype-inconsistent information to be processed abstractly. This effect occurred with centrally (Experiment2) and peripherally (Experiment1) presented stereotype-relevant information, in two different intergroup contexts. Additionally, Experiment2 demonstrated that abstract construal level increases stereotyping only if the construed information is stereotype-consistent. Thus, preparing for communication may be a key to stereotype change because it enables, through abstract construal, generalization of stereotype-inconsistency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-527
Number of pages23
JournalSocial Cognition
Volume32
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2014

Keywords

  • SOCIALLY SITUATED COGNITION
  • LINGUISTIC INTERGROUP BIAS
  • ORDINAL INTERACTIONS
  • PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTANCE
  • LANGUAGE ABSTRACTION
  • TESTING HYPOTHESES
  • LEVEL
  • EXPECTANCIES

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